Work gets a bad rap. We gripe about it. We long for the day when we can stop doing it. It appears that everybody’s working for the weekend. Work is what we HAVE to do, while play is what we WANT to do. But this is not the whole picture.
In God’s economy, work is not a curse, but a gift. Work gives us purpose, a way to put our creative spark into something. It allows us to strive and push. It is is how we provide and care for what we have been given. Being made in the image of our Father, there is something in us that takes great joy in doing something and calling it good.
Now, before I worked for the church, I worked in the marketplace. I had job type jobs. I worked in the food industry for many years, and they were great years. I’ve worked in retail, selling imported French glassware to the upper middle class of Chicago (I still have no idea how I scored that gig). I’ve worked in finished carpentry, home improvement, been a newspaper boy, and been a day laborer. And it was good. Earned money, spent money, learned what it meant to sweat.
Now I find myself in an odd place. I have moved from a mega-church to an non-existent church plant. My financial reality has changed. No more insurance. No fringe benefits. No guaranteed paycheck. As the provider for my family, I have had to look at how to make sure we are okay in this transitional season.
Now there is a lot I could do for money. I could sell stuff, make stuff, write stuff, say stuff… there are options.. But after much prayer, I have decided to become bi-vocational. This means working another job to pay the bills while striving to make a dream reality. And if I have to work, I want to work in the city of Flint. I want to be where the people are. i want to be a person among people. I want to be in the mix. So what to do? What job is flexible, pays money, is around people, and can still impart meaningfulness into people’s lives.
The answer: I am going to be a substitute teacher. I get to be in the public school system and see what programs exist in Flint to help families. I get to meet the teachers who give their lives to make a difference. I get to be a source of kindness to a bunch of kids who may need it. Now I know it’s not going to be rainbows and gumdrops. And I’m even a little nervous that the kids are going to eat me alive. But I am also excited. My first day is this week. *cracks neck, rolls shoulders* So let’s do this.